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I don't want to go into details for anonymity purposes, but I have co-authored and submitted a paper with a long proof (dozens of pages), and I think that with some moderate effort, we could find a proof that is about half as long, by decreasing the power of some intermediate lemmas (the reason for this is that we initially didn't know that it could be done more simply). How bad is it to publish a paper like that? Is this considered bad style? Or actually unethical? Is it considered embarrassing (e.g. will we be considered amateurs for not having found the simpler proof first)? Or is there nothing wrong with it?

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    $\begingroup$ Remember O. Wilde, who wrote a post scriptum (approximately) : this letter is too long, because I did not not have the time to make it short. $\endgroup$ Feb 5 '21 at 9:31
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    $\begingroup$ @DenisSerre, why not give a more correct and more mathematical attribution of the quote, to Pascal? Lettres Provinciales XVI: "Je n'ai fait celle-ci plus longue que parce que je n'ai pas eu le loisir de la faire plus courte." $\endgroup$
    – Matt F.
    Feb 5 '21 at 9:41
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    $\begingroup$ Editors, referees and readers will suffer if you deliberately publish an unnecessarily long proof. You may also suffer, certainly from the inevitable delays in handling long papers and even more so if the referee hesitates over the “is the length of the paper appropriate for the significance of the result” question that many journals ask. $\endgroup$ Feb 5 '21 at 9:55
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    $\begingroup$ Are the powerful lemmas possibly of independent interest, could they have further uses, or is there only reason for existing to prove the theorem in your paper? $\endgroup$
    – bof
    Feb 5 '21 at 10:06
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    $\begingroup$ I think bof is spot on. If the lemmas are of independent interest to the reader, then by all means include them. If not, you should make effort (within reason) to make the proof as short and simple to follow as possible. It is in your best interest not to make the paper write-only. $\endgroup$ Feb 5 '21 at 12:41

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